Nick Timiraos reports:

Homebuilders are optimistic that Congress will add a $15,000 tax credit to the $900 billion stimulus package, and some builders are trying to take advantage of the offer by rolling out incentives of their own. Shea Homes’ Trilogy division, which develops homes in California, Arizona and Florida for aging baby boomers, is already promoting a 3.875% fixed mortgage rate on new home purchases.

Senate Republicans added the buyer tax credit on Wednesday night, but the price tag of the measure, at $35 billion, is nearly double the $18.9 billion that was originally estimated.

The tax credit can only be used for primary residences and unlike the $7,500 tax credit passed last year, the money wouldn’t have to be repaid to the government. There’s also no income restriction on who can claim the credit. The credit is nonrefundable and can be claimed over two years, so buyers whose tax liability is less than $15,000 would have a second year to capture the credit. For example, a buyer who owes $10,000 in taxes would be able to take a $10,000 credit in the first year after their purchase, and a $5,000 credit for the year after that.

Readers, would you buy a home if you could use this $15,000 credit? Or would you pass it up to see if prices fall further? If you’re willing to be interviewed for a possible story, email: